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Overview of Vallée de Goût's Business and Service Challenges

‘Vallée de Goût’ is aFrench cuisinerestaurant located in outer suburbs Sydney, offering a luxurious and contemporary fine dining experience. Thanks to maintaining their quality standards, their business hasbeen growing steadily. But for the past few months their venuehas been gettingovercrowded during weekends. This has impacted the customer service quality, for example, due to delays in order preparation, mistakes in ordersor bills etc. The management firmly believesthat an existing customer is worth more to a business than a new customer, because the cost to attract a new customer can be multiple times higher than the cost to retain an old customer. A customer is likely to return to a restaurant, if they receive an excellent customer service as well as appetising food. However, the restaurant would easily loose the customers if they haveto wait for an unreasonable amount of time or there was a mistake in their order.

To solve these problems, firstly the management has convinced owners to relocate to a bigger venuenearby. Secondly, the management would like to upgrade to a sophisticated information system at the same time. Their current information system has become a hurdle in smooth business operations because of very limited features. Forthe past two weeks, the business manager has been evaluating multiple off-the-shelf systems for Vallée. But he came to the conclusion that all of those systems are quite generic; those will require excessive customization to adapt to some of the Vallée requirements, while lacking some important features. Therefore the restaurant manager have decided to get a custom integrated system developed that better fits their business needs. Your company ‘Hospitality Innovations’ has won the contract Vallée’s software on the basis of extensive experience in developing restaurant related softwares. You and your team have had several meetings with restaurant staff and they have communicated to you their system requirements. You were provided an opportunity to observe day to day restaurant operations, and then interviewed all the potential users of the proposed system (managers, cooks, waiters etc.) in order to get as clear idea of the requirements as possible.

Once you got a clear idea of the system requirements, you propose the new information system to be named iDine.The management liked your name and asked you to describe how the system would work. You wrote a detailed description as below, providing a vision of system working in full capability. Your team will now help Vallée convert this vision into reality.

Getting inspiration from touchscreen self-ordering kiosks used by fast food restaurants, Vallée wants to apply a similar concept (to some extent) in the fine dining. For this purpose, all tables in restaurant are to be equipped with tablet optablets. These tablets display their detailed digital menu and allow customers to place and send their orders directly to the kitchen. This potentially saves time because customers do not have to wait for a server, especially during lunch or dinner rush hours. Furthermore, while enjoying their meals, customers can use this system to quickly order an extra drink or an additional plate. Plus, since customers can dig deeper into the menu to discover more add-ons and extras than any waiter could recite, orders can be customized as per customer wishes. As an added bonus, some table top tablets come loaded with games and entertainment to keep kids busy while their parentsare chatting waiting for the order.

Development of iDine Information System

Customers who are not tech savvy enough to use those tablets, can just tap the “Call waiter” button to order the old school way. There is mainterminal located in the dining room that is overseen by the head waiter. This machine would display a prominent notification of which table is requesting the waiter visit. The head waiter can then direct one of the available waiters to that table to collect the order. The waiter keys-in the order detailsinto the system viaa handheld tablet. The table number is also recorded in the system along with the order details.

Whichever way an order is placed (customer self-orderor through waiter), the system categorizes the individual items in the order according to the section where they are prepared, and thenroute the subordersto printers in the appropriate preparation area. For example, to the printer in cold section if ordered itemis a salad, to the cafe printer if it is a coffee or sandwich, or to the main kitchen if order is from the main course menu. This ordering system eliminates any problems caused by a waiter’s handwriting. In each preparation area, the cooks have access to a large touch screen display that shows all orders that are yet to be served. Once an order is ready, a cook will mark the order as ready, which will send a notification to dining room terminal along with the table number. The head waiter then instructs one of the waiters to pick up the order from kitchen and serve to customers. After the customer have finished with their meal, they can see their final bill on the same table top tablet. Alternatively the waiter can print out the bill from the main terminal for any given table number.

Other than customer order management, iDineis also composed of several other subsystems like pantry and fresh produce inventory management, and supplies ordering management. Although the inventory system provides a lot of benefits as described later, but it does impose a strict data entry requirement. Every item added to inventory must be keyed in to the system. Similarly every item used up from inventory must be recorded. To simplify these tedious tasks, the inventory system is linked together with customer ordering system and supplies ordering system. A workflow is designed like this: All the supplies are ordered through the supplies ordering system. When those supplies are delivered to the restaurant, a staff member keys-in the details of everything added to inventory. Most of it is same as the supply order, so the information is automatically copied over usingthe supply order number, but staff can adjust the details if the delivery does not exactly match suppliesorder.

To keep track of supplies consumption, the iDine estimates how much inventory the restaurant should have on-hand based on the items sold. This is possible because ahead of time when the restaurant menu is designed, the chefs provide a list of ingredients (fresh produce or grocery items) required for every single item on the menu. Therefore, as soon as customer orders are served, the inventory system uses to recipe to record an approximate deduction for every ingredient present in the order. This way the system keepstrack of actual product counts, andalso monitors theoretical inventory levels. The inventory system therefore provides a clear information of stock availability for every asset. Management can view inventory counts any time for greater efficiency and accuracy. Because the system can only estimate stock consumption(based on recipes), real stock counts need to be verified by the staff at the end of the day. A comparison of the estimated vs actual stockcounts can alert managers to discrepancies from over-portioning, waste, and theft so that they can be resolved immediately.

Self-Ordering Tablets

Another benefit of linking inventory management and customer ordering is that when the kitchen runs out of a food item, the cooks will use the kitchen terminal to record an ‘out of stock’ status. This will be helpful for waiters when taking orders. If an item can’t be prepared because one or more of the ingredients are out of stock, the waiters can immediately apologize tocustomers, enabling them to provide a better customer service. Similarly the customer tabletop tablets will disable ordering of such items,indicating the same reasonon the screen.

An automated stock control is done by theinventory system and a report is readily available showing which items are currently available in stock and which of them need to be ordered from suppliers. This greatly reduces the chances of mistakes by staff members and they do not have to remember what is to be ordered. Previously staffhadto handwrite a list of all ingredients that wereout of stock at the end of every night shift. It was always not that productive as there wasa very big possibility on missing out some of the ingredients. Using the automated reports, managers can manually place an order of supplies to be delivered the next day before the restaurant opens. But manually preparing the orders is seldom needed because an even better automated purchasing system works most of the time. Linked directly to the inventory system, this subsystem notifies and alerts themanagers aboutlow product levels. This system intelligently suggests purchasing recommendations based on supplies (expected) delivery time, forecasted sales quantities, and predefinedstock level thresholds. Managers can also enable automatic orders to placed whenever inventory reaches a certain threshold.

Sales analytics ispart and parcel of every modern business and Vallée is no exception. To this end, the new information system provides up-to-the-minute reports on the food items ordered and breaks out percentages showing sales of each item versus total sales. This helps management understand which food items are popular in customers. This data is then shared with chefs so that can tweak the recipes of unpopular items. In this way, menu is tweakedaccording to customers’ tastes. The system also compares the weekly sales revenue versus food costs, allowing planning for tighter cost controls. In addition, whenever an order is voided, the reasons for the void are keyed inby waiters. This may help later in management decisions, especially if the void sare consistently related to food or service. iDineis capable of generating different types of charts for sales information so that management can view statistics in numerous diagrams.

Another crucial business requirement fulfilled by iDineis managing customer feedback. This subsystem works in two ways. First, at the restaurant exit door, a special purpose computeris installed that provides five buttons and a small display. The goal of this device is to ask the customers a simple ‘How did we do today?’question. The five buttons are labelled withemoji faces from ‘sad’ to ‘smiling’. Customers will only need to pushone button which is acknowledged with athank you displayed on screen. iDinecollects all such feedback and presents in the form of charts as needed. In case customers wish to offer a detailed feedback with comments, that option is also available. The bill receiptshave a QR-code at the bottom which customer can scan with a smartphonecamera. The QR code isunique to each customer, linked to theirorder information. Scanning it leads to an onlinefeedback form where user canleave detailed rating and comments.Later when management reviews the feedback, they will have access to order details as well so it iseasy to understandand act uponcustomer complaints (if any).

Another convenience Valléeis proud tooffer its customers is the real time space availability and wait time estimation. As soon acustomerplaces an order, iDinerecordstheirtable as busy and that way remaining space available in restaurant can be worked out and displayed on the company website, updated in real time. Similarly, based on the actual order placed, system can provide an estimate of preparation time whichis intimated to customers via tabletop tablet or waiter. Furthermore this information is also to estimate how long queuing time is, for those arriving when the restaurant is full.To get a proper estimate of queuing time, iDine keeps track of the average time customers spend from order to payment (because most customers leave right after payment). When restaurant is full, these average values are used to work out when the next table will get free.

Ever since iDinehas been installed at Vallée, it has vastly improvedthe workers organizationand teamwork. Management is happy with thepost-sales analysis reports. The system itself is designed with a very user friendly,touchdriven GUI. Thesystem responsetime is incredibly fast; the staff do not come across any noticeable lags or delays when using it. All customer orders are logged in an archive for record keeping and analytics pur

You are provided with a case study about a business that needs development of a modern information system to support its day to day operations. In your role as System Analyst, you will help the business in development of the new information system.

Overview of Vallée de Goût's Business and Service Challenges

Vallée de Goût is a French Cuisine that has been growing with steady rate due to the contemporary fine dining and luxurious comfort at their restaurant. The quality standard can be rated high however, the handling of overcrowded customers during weekends are not being managed by the restaurant due to several human errors. Introduction of a sophisticated Information System namely ‘iDine’ will allow the organization in coping up with these problems and assuring the fulfillment of the customer needs and quality services. The customer service quality is always considerable and influencing in the field of the hospitality sector considering the delivery and management of best customer service quality. The purpose of this project is to maintain the customer service quality and allow the consumers to avail the best services through the application of the information system in an efficient way. This information system will be integrated in the tablet, big screens for the cook, accountant, and head of the waiters. It will allow the real-time data and information exchange including from order collection from the consumers to the stock or inventory management.  

Following is the list of the system capabilities that can boost the ways in which the services could be delivered to the consumers:

The primary benefit of the system will be that it can be easily incorporated within the mobile device and screens of the restaurant that can allow the waiters, cook, supplier, inventory and others to be associated with each other. The tabletop laptop will be introduced at every table of the restaurant and thus, users can place their order after selecting the wide range of the available foods and beverages. It will eliminate the waiting for the waiters and will allow the customers to make an order right they enter the restaurant. A plan B system for the users who do not want to use the tablet can connect to the head waiter through making call.

The information is then accessed by the cook where he or she confirms the food and start preparing. Thus, the time being consumed by the waiter for taking orders, writing them and informing cook is eliminated and the food is being prepared. After cooking food, the cook updates in the screen that the food is cooked and same information will be cascaded to the users and the head waiter. The head waiter will ask the waiter to take the order to the respective table.

The flexibility in order can be accomplished as the system will allow to modify the order or add additional items at any time and inform directly to the management of the restaurants.

Other than customer satisfaction, this system also emphasizes on improving the inventory management and stock availability for the restaurant. The calculation being provided by the head chef is used for calculating the availability of the stocks and orders being made and informing the manager according for further stock and supplies.

Furthermore, the sales analytics will be helpful and effective in predicting the future needs and requirements of the restaurant in manner to develop the strategies those could possibly helpful and effective in improving decision-making.

Development of iDine Information System

Customers feedback is being introduced that can alternatively boost the results and analysis of the business analytics and allow the restaurant to develop the new strategies that can meet the customers’ expectations.

Real time space availability and real time information being exchanged throughout the dining process is shared with the customers, management and staffs that can improve the entire business activity.

Real time data management related to the ongoing process including ordering, cooking, serving, billing, inventory management, and feedback for the users can be highly efficient in improving the decision-making that can meet the consumers’ needs and requirements. The overall revenue of the business can be improved as the new and old customers will have the same enhanced and improved services that can gain their loyalty. The customer service quality can be enhanced to the exceptional level through assuring the availability of all the products and services. For instance, if there’s not any availability of food the real time information can be shared with the customers at their table through representing it besides the menu and hence, improving the strategies for the cuisine.

The human resources required for the deployment of this system includes the following:

Project manager, who will be managing and delivering the entire project activities under his or her guidance.

Business analyst (whose role has been already accomplished other than the RSS documentation)

Market analyst, who will analyze the market status and the approaches being made by the competitors and introduce them to the management for modifying the strategies accordingly.

Software engineer, who will be developing the iDine information system

IT specialists, who will be interconnecting all the devices and touch screens within the cuisine.

Sponsors, who will be providing necessary funds to the project

Technical resources required includes the tablets with at least 1.3 GHz processor and 2 GB RAM with a screen size of 9.7 to 12.9 inches. Touch screens for the accountant, cook, and head waiter. Wired connectivity between these devices and an automated function that will be connected to the suppliers for providing supplies through adding trigger of the threshold value. iDine information system that is connected to the single database of the cuisine considering the management of the above-mentioned operational activities.

Internal

External

Operation

1. Customers

2. Cook

3. Waiter

4. Cuisine Manager

1. Sydney Authority

2. Society or Community

3. Partners

4. Suppliers

Executive

1. Cuisine Owner

2. Information System Developer

3. Committee Members

1. Sponsors

2. Shareholders

Rating: 1 to 5 considering very low to very high

Sl no.

Risk

Probability

Impact

Severity

1. 

Interdepartmental Coordination

4

3

12

2. 

Individual Support

5

2

10

3. 

Organizational Support

3

3

9

4. 

Timeframes and Scheduling

4

4

16

5. 

Lack of a Strategic/Formal Plan

2

3

6

6. 

Fiscal/Budgeting Issues

5

4

20

7. 

Organizational Directives

3

3

9

8. 

Organizational Culture

4

4

16

9. 

Politics, Internal/External

5

5

25

10. 

Rapidly Changing Technology

3

4

12

11. 

External Consultants

5

5

25

12. 

Existing Systems

5

4

20

13. 

Standardization Issues

4

3

12

14. 

Compatibility Issues

3

3

9

15. 

Organizational IT Expertise

4

2

8

16. 

Individual IT Expertise

3

3

9

17. 

Internal Leadership

4

4

16

18. 

Personnel Issues

2

3

6

19. 

Adequate Staffing

2

4

8

20. 

Resistance to Change

5

5

25

21. 

Training

5

5

25

The proposed system will allow flexibility in the system with an efficient and effective management of all the operational activities those could be highly efficient and effective regarding the revenue of the cuisines and customer service quality. The old customers’ loyalty can be managed and maintained in highly efficient and effective way. Business is all about increasing the customers frequency and enhancing the revenue. This will smoothen the entire functioning and operating of the Cuisine through allowing to improve the decision-making best on the real time data. It will meet the needs and requirements of the customers in addition to meeting the satisfaction level of the customers. The risks in the implementation can be high as mentioned in the above section however, the possible benefits are the brighter reason behind the successful delivery of the project. The first section introduces the possible operation those could be delivered through the introduction of this information system and hence, those could also be related to the final outcome and benefit of the system being introduced to them.

Conclusion

It can be concluded that the information system can change the face of the ways in which the Cuisine is managing the operational activities including from food ordering to the inventory management. The system can allow the easy and effective management of all the operational activities through collecting and processing the data collected during the food ordering instance. The customer satisfaction level can be improvised through the adoption of the information system within the existing system of the restaurant. Moreover, replacing the existing system with iDine can be profitable for the restaurant in all the ways. It can be recommended to implement secured payment system in the iDine information system as it will eliminate the only process that is being delivered from the counter and thus, entire operational activities can be managed and delivered in an efficient and effective way. The business analytic approach being introduced in the system can be highly efficient and effective in predicting the future requirements for the cuisine and hence, development of the strategies targeting the customers likes and dislikes can be delivered in much efficient and effective way.

Abel, E. E., & Obeten, E. (2015). Restaurant Customer Self-Ordering System: A Solution to Reduce Customer/Guest Waiting Time at the Point of Sale. International Journal of Computer Applications, 111(11).

Chen, L. F., & Tsai, C. T. (2016). Data mining framework based on rough set theory to improve location selection decisions: A case study of a restaurant chain. Tourism Management, 53, 197-206.

Howcroft, D. M., Klakow, D., & Demberg, V. (2017). The Extended SPaRKy Restaurant Corpus: designing a corpus with variable information density. Proc. Interspeech 2017, 3757-3761.

Kim, J., & Gambino, A. (2016). Do we trust the crowd or information system? Effects of personalization and bandwagon cues on users' attitudes and behavioral intentions toward a restaurant recommendation website. Computers in Human Behavior, 65, 369-379.

Lee, A. S., Thomas, M., & Baskerville, R. L. (2015). Going back to basics in design science: from the information technology artifact to the information systems artifact. Information Systems Journal, 25(1), 5-21.

Li, X., Lv, Z., Zheng, Z., Zhong, C., Hijazi, I. H., & Cheng, S. (2017). Assessment of lively street network based on geographic information system and space syntax. Multimedia Tools and Applications, 76(17), 17801-17819.

Liu, X., Gao, J., He, X., Deng, L., Duh, K., & Wang, Y. Y. (2015). Representation learning using multi-task deep neural networks for semantic classification and information retrieval.

Tarigan, J., & Putri, F. E. (2015). The Usage of Accounting Information System in Hotel and Restaurant Management: An Evidence from Indonesia. Journal of Applied Business and Economics, 17(4), 105-117.

Widaningrum, D. L., Surjandari, I., & Arymurthy, A. M. (2018, April). Visualization of Fast Food Restaurant Location using Geographical Information System. In IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science (Vol. 145, No. 1, p. 012102). IOP Publishing.

Yang, F. X. (2017). Effects of restaurant satisfaction and knowledge sharing motivation on eWOM intentions: the moderating role of technology acceptance factors. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 41(1), 93-127.

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